Cruise from Puerto Rico down the Lesser Antilles
April 2015
Part VI - St. Thomas

The next Caribbean island we visited was St. Thomas of the Virgin Islands belonging to the United States of America. We arrived early in the morning in Charlotte Amalie, the capital.

Again: We always tried to get from the ship as early as possible to have most of the day for the land excursion. We were usually ready for breakfast at 7:30 at the latest in order to be ready to get from board at 8:00 a.m. I ate proactively enough to last for the whole day, even if it was not my time for a heavy breakfast. Having lunch on the island means less time for sight-seeing and it also saves money.

As soon as we did get from the ship we were looking for a taxi. There were many drivers offering trips to any place on the island or an island roundtrip. I have to mention again: The advantage is that you can determine yourself where you want to go and where you want to stop and for how long. Usually. But unfortunately not this time. More about it later on. I had read about the best places to visit in my guide book just before we arrive. By the way, all the taxi drivers also acted as a guide by explaining the sights and answering all our questions.

And the costs are less than if you would have booked an excursion package on the ship. They offered land excursions lasting up to 4.5 hours for 54.75 or 59.75 USD per person. However, they offered even more than just a land excursion: About 28 more activities you can choose from like diving, snorkeling, sailing, dolphin riding, canopy zipline adventure or just swimming with prices ranging up to 169.75 USD, or golfing for 238.75 USD.

Remark: The photos on the right side may not be correctly adjusted if you use Mozilla Firefox or Chrome. I propose to use the Explorer or Edge of Microsoft instead (even if most people prefer the others).

Click the small picture to get it enlarged

We didn't book the Buck Island catamaran trip but joined Franco on a round the island land tour
We made a deal with the taxi driver Franco for 25 USD each for a trip through the island all day. Actually, it was no good deal for us but more so for the owner and driver. Because it wasn't a taxi van as before but a safari-type vehicle with 20 seats and more. This means he will earn 500.00 USD a day if he fills it up. And that's what he had in mind by telling us to wait till 11 a.m. and that we should look around town in the meantime after driving us from the pier to city center. That was not what I have envisioned, but there was no other choice.
One of these safari-type vehicles we had to take for the tour
So we had around two hours to get a first impression of the city. It's named after Charlotte Amalie of Hesse-Kassel, the wife of king Christian V of Denmark. It was the capital of Danish West-Indies before it became the capital of the United States Virgin Islands. The fort in the middle of the city is named after the king and many streets have Danish names. In 1917 the United States bought the Danish West Indies (it was comprised of some more islands) from Denmark for 25,000 USD.

It's a duty free shopping paradise, especially for American tourists. If you look at following photos you may not be that much impressed, but later you will see more after the island tour.
This is Fort Christian (currently under renovation) located just at the side of the "Vendors Plaza"
Walking down a street with many shops like this one
Looks like a house in New Orleans Looks like a Spanish house
This is Caribbean art painting But what kind of joints are these?
Instead of entering the "Big Cock Bar" I went back to "Meet the Guide" at the Vendors Plaza. But there was no vehicle yet. That's not what I like: That I have to go with a crowd, that I couldn't say when and where to go, that I may miss some sights. So I was a little bit up-set. I tried to relax, but I really was fed-up so I needed a medical check-up (tongue-in-cheek).

It just happened that there was a public medical station close-by, because of the Virgin Island's Health Week. I actually didn't want it but a nurse made me to give her a drop of blood and to have checked the pressure of my blood. The sugar level was ok but the blood pressure was a little bit high, because of the endured stress and maybe also because of her.
Getting a health check for free It's the Vrgin Island's Health Week
Finally we could leave with over twenty people in the vehicle. A little bit cramped, but still content not to sit in the middle. At first we went in serpents up a hill to the Mountain Top. There we had a nice view to the north coast with the Magens Bay and the Magens Beach. But unfortunately it started to rain, so the view became foggy. The viewing platform was part of a large souvenir shop. Instead of buying we were admiring the pirates standing around until the rain stopped.
A foggy view from the Mountain Top to the Magens Bay The Magens Beach would look nicer in the sun shine
Taking shelter in the souvenir shop though the death was not for sale
Who is this guy beside the pirate It's me as you can see
Rain stopped so the view is much better
The safari vehicle was waiting (which one?) to continue our island trip
The next stopover was at a bench, where Captain Francis Drake was supposedly spying out for Spanish treasure ships to capture. If he would not have come back to England with all the treasures captured from the Spaniards (who stole it from the Amerindians in the first place), then England's Queen Elisabeth the First could not have made England great by building a lot of ships from the loot and defeating the Spanish Armada, etc. Also, North America would have probably become a Spanish possession, if there would not have been Francis Drake. The course of history would have gone a complete different direction: No American Constitution, no French Revolution, no real democracies, but it would be a pity for people who are hating the Yankees.
What's so special about this bench? From here Captain Drake spied out for Spanish ships
Right after Drake's seat we came to a nice scenic Overlook to Charlotte Amalie at the south coast. Unfortunately, the old town was not in sight, just the Fort Christian on the far upper right. After the Overlook we continued to the east all the way down to the Coki Point Beach.
The scenic lookover to modern Charlotte Amalie And to the left is the harbor with our "Summit"
We didn't have the time to swim and relax. It was the last sight before heading back to Charlotte Amalie. Next to the Coki Point Beach was the Coral World Ocean Park I saw on a map but there would not have been enough time either to visit.
Next: The Coki Point Beach The real beach is behind this board walk
It's a nice white sand beach on the small Koki Point peninsula
Many nice houses you can see opposite at the Water Bay
This is actually the end of our first visit of our first one week cruise with the "Summit". We didn't have enough time to get back to the center of old Charlotte Amalie but we asked to be dropped off at the harbor to get aboard our ship. St. Thomas was the only island we visited twice on our two weeks cruise. Both cruises as the last island. I didn't open up another site but continue right away with the next arrival in the same harbor of Charlotte Amalie.
Back in Charlotte Amalie. Shall we join a sailing trip? Or shall we take a public bus to town?
There was no need to join a tour again. So we just wanted to get to the city in order to stroll around at places we didn't have the time the first time. It also was not worthwhile to take a bus or taxi, because it was just a one mile walk along the bay. Now take a look at the following self-explanatory pictures and you will experience a different old but glamorous town.
We decided to walk to town following the sign No chance to get a lift by the police
Strolling through the beautiful narrow side streets The wealth you see is almost everywhere
Expensive shops for all brands
One shop after the other There was even a Belgian Chocolate factory
You can shop until you drop Wives can leave their husbands here
Expensive drinks (to be paid by your wife?) But there is also some expensive stuff for men
More ship stuff for the sailor Historical storage barns for stuff from ships
Expensive old yacht Expensive new yacht
The road to the pier to get back to our "Summit" Why didn't we see that before. Now it's too late
Yes, it was too late to know where there is free wifi while you drink a cheap beer. Just before getting on the ship I met Heino in the Hooters restaurant just opposite the entrance to the pier. He drank his beer while writing emails to his friends. And you know what? He didn't notice the Hooters girls in their orange hot pants. Back on the ship we left the harbor while watching the coastline in the evening sun.
Last view to a beach with colorful houses and to the Marriot hotel while leaving St. Thomas
Last glimpse to the sun set Maybe last view of everything if that's a hurricane
Here at last are some more information about St. Thomas as derived from Wikipedia:

St. Thomas, together with Saint Croix, Saint John and some other surrounding islands, belongs to the U.S. Virgin Islands. It was sold to the United States by Denmark in the Treaty of the Danish West Indies of 1916. They are classified by the UN as a Non-Self-Governing Territory, and are currently an organized, unincorporated United States territory. Even though they are U.S. citizens, U.S. Virgin Islands residents cannot vote in presidential elections.

In 2010 the population was 106,405. Of these are 15.6% whites and 76.0% Afro-Caribbean. The official language is English. Virgin Islands Creole, an English-based creole locally known as "dialect", is spoken in informal situations.

If you want to know more about the places I have visited and more about politics, history, economy, etc. then look up any guidebook and the internet.

Created November 2015

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